Friday, December 11, 2020

Lockdown diaries day forty-three, Advent day eleven, Bordeaux wines

French Village Lockdown Diaries day forty-three France Trivia Advent day eleven Bordeaux wine
Advent day eleven Bordeaux wine and ruby beer

Day forty-three, Friday 11th December 2020


Advent day eleven

French Village Lockdown Diaries day forty-three France Trivia Advent day eleven Bordeaux wine
Curfew from 15th December 20h until 6h

Update from Prime Minister Jean Castex last night

Despite the virus numbers not being as low as the government would have liked, they are still planning on easing lockdown here in France on 15th December. We will no longer be required to fill in our attestations (reasons for leaving home form), but an overnight curfew will come into place from eight o’clock in the evening until six in the morning, and if you do need to leave home during these hours, an attestation must be completed. The curfew will not apply to Christmas Eve, but it will be enforced (with zero tolerance) on New Year’s Eve. 


We will be permitted to travel between regions in France, so visiting of family over the festive period will be allowed, however, all gatherings should be limited to six adults. To avoid a third wave (the second wave is not over yet), we really do need to be careful and think before we go out, is our reason for leaving home really necessary? Theatres, cinemas and other public places that were hoping to open on 16th December, will remain closed, and this situation will be reviewed on 7th January. The opening of bars and restaurants will be reviewed, as planned, on 20th January. 


We are looking forward to meeting up with a few friends, hopefully with a bike ride, but our Christmas and New Year plans were never going to be over the top, even without a curfew. The end of 2020 marks the day Britain’s transition period ends, meaning we will be officially ostracised from the EU, and those of us living in France will become third country citizens with far fewer rights than EU citizens. There has never been much about that worth celebrating, as far as we are concerned. Having been promised so many times that nothing will change, and deals will be done, the latest from Reuters this afternoon is that leaving without a trade deal will be the most likely option at this late hour. It has been four and half years since the referendum in June 2016, and still we have no idea what the real impact will be or what changes we will need to make in order to run our business in less than a month’s time. It makes me so mad.


French Village Lockdown Diaries day forty-three France Trivia Advent day eleven Bordeaux wine
Chocolate Brownies

Mary Berry’s brownies

One of the downsides to searching through my recipe books looking for new dinner ideas, is spotting something naughty but nice, getting caught up in the moment and diving in without thinking. This is just what happened when I found Mary’s brownie recipe and ended up with the biggest bowl of melted chocolate brownie mixture I’ve ever seen and way too much for my favourite tray-bake tin. The vast quantities of butter and sugar should have warned me I was heading way out of my comfort zone, but seriously Mary, these bad boys should come with a health warning. Thankfully, although the recipe stated it would make twelve brownies, (that would mean almost 40g of sugar per brownie), I managed to cut mine into about thirty, and as they can be frozen, there is no need to rush off and eat them all in one go. 


In order to try and burn off some of the calories from the brownies, while the rain, wind, thunder and lightning took over outside, we set to clearing some drawers in the lounge. I might have already mentioned we are not the best at clutter-free living, but the contents of these drawers probably haven’t been looked at in over a decade and gave us a trip down memory lane. Top finds were my handwritten diary from our honeymoon in Mauritius, April 1998, including a detailed inventory of what we had on room service and from the minibar, as well as a page where I was practising my new signature. A notebook from 1997 where Adrian had listed all the additional extras he’d spent on Gizmo, his Mini Cooper, since buying him in 1994. From our early years in France, there were enough supermarket receipts to plot the price changes of our standard shop for the last decade, and enough plastic folders and pockets to set up our own stationary shop. There were also so many cables, plus a whole collection of different models of iPods, Adrian couldn’t quite contain his excitement, and some of Ed’s homemade movies from at least ten years ago. As he is now studying cinema as part of his degree, it was quite sweet to remember how much he’s always enjoyed filming.


French Village Lockdown Diaries day forty-three France Trivia Advent day eleven Bordeaux wine
Bordeaux wines

France Trivia advent calendar, day eleven Bordeaux wines, the basics

My advent calendar has offered me a bottle of Bordeaux, so I thought a quick tour of the wines of Bordeaux would be a good idea today.



Bordeaux, light and fruity and best drunk young.

Bordeaux supérieur, full-bodied, with a delicate tannin and best drunk within five years. 

St Emilion, Pomerol, Fronsac, full-bodied and supple and with the possibility to lay down and age.

Pauillac, St Julien, more complex and higher in tannin when young, but much better when aged.



Bordeaux rosé and Bordeaux Clairet produced in the Gironde department are light, fruity and best drunk young.


Dry whites

Entre-deux-Mers and Blaye-Cotes-de-Bordeaux produced in the Gironde, they are fresh, light and easy to drink.

Pessac-Leognan and Graves are a little stronger and can be left to age.


Sweet whites

Sauternes being the most famous, some of these can be kept for many years.


Sparkling wines

Bordeaux produces sparkling whites and rosés that Larousse tells me are very fresh, light and easy to drink. 

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